Patrick Reed gained a small measure of revenge for last month’s Ryder Cup defeat by knocking European hero Jamie Donaldson out of the Volvo World Match Play Championship.
And another member of the victory at Gleneagles also fell by the wayside at The London Club yesterday as defending champion Graeme McDowell suffered his second successive defeat.
McDowell lost by two holes to Holland’s Joost Luiten to miss out on the knockout stages for the first time in four appearances in the event, the Northern Irishman having reached the quarter-finals in 2011, the final in 2012 and winning last year in Bulgaria.
Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher had already been eliminated after losing his first two matches, leaving Victor Dubuisson and Henrik Stenson to fly the flag for the victorious European team this weekend. Stenson and Reed will enjoy a re-match of their Ryder Cup singles clash in the semi-finals if they can see off Jonas Blixt and George Coetzee respectively in the last eight, with Dubuisson taking on Mikko Ilonen and Luiten facing Pablo Larrazabal in the other quarter-finals.
“Henrik will have revenge on his mind but I will too,” said Reed, who beat Stenson on the 18th at Gleneagles to finish as the top US points scorer on his debut.
“I might have the ‘W’ in the singles but he has the cup and I don’t.”
Donaldson, who secured the winning point against Keegan Bradley to make it three wins from four matches on his debut, was never ahead against Reed, who carded six birdies but was also crucially gifted the 11th when Donaldson three-putted from close range.
Birdies on the 12th and 14th took Reed four ahead with four to play and although Donaldson kept the match alive by almost holing his second shot to the par-five 15th and hitting his tee shot to two feet on the next, Reed also made birdie on the 16th to seal the win.
Reed hit the headlines at the Ryder Cup for signalling to the European fans to keep quiet when he made crucial putts, but admitted he expected more banter with the crowds this week.
“I had a couple of shushes on eight,” he said. “If I had made the putt I would have turned round to do it back and try to get them going but unfortunately I missed it!”
The best golf of the day came in the match between Blixt and Paul Casey, who both finished 10 under par and went into a sudden-death play-off to decide who finished second to Reed. A par at the first extra hole was enough for Blixt to advance after Casey’s approach found water at the green.